Fool’s Errand

quixote I want to like Bill McKibben. I really do. But the man is a stone cold idiot.

His latest gesture is even nuttier than the windmill tilt against the Keystone XL pipeline. Now, the proposition is to get universities to “divest” from “fossil fuel” corporations.

ROFLMFAO, Bill. Divesting from things that depend on subsidies and special treatment — things like the not-so-great state of Israel — makes powerful sense. Divesting from the world’s most internally profitable organizations is, well, a pointless gesture.

It’s also, of course, a misdiagnosis. Fossil fuel corporations are where they are today not because of simple corruption, but because of the reign of cars-first transportation policy. To peddle the notion that you can somehow do something about the former without fighting the latter is just plain stupid. It is also, alas, the hallmark of McKibbenism.

“Do the math” indeed.  This kind of shallowness and misdirection — C. Wright Mills called it, aptly, “liberal practicality” —  is worse than good old inaction.  There is only so much time and energy available for organizing and political action.  To spend that time and energy in ways that are patently hopeless and silly is a major sin against the future.

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